Today in Seattle History: Gamblers are thriving in Seattle in 1901

SEATTLE — 117 years ago Sunday, a story published in the Seattle Star detailed Seattle's thriving gambling scene.

The following is a recap of the event in a essay by Greg Lange

On the evening of January 20, 1901, a Seattle Star reporter visits the gambling houses of Seattle.

They are running "full blast" from 9 a.m. to 12 midnight.  The paper reports that "public gambling" is "flourishing in Seattle" and "gamblers are reaping a harvest." The gambling houses are a large employer with an estimated 1,000 men working as "boosters, dealers, and floor walkers."

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The City of Seattle reaps its own rewards by "fining" each poker table $30 to $35 per month and the blackjack games $100 per month.

The reporter visits six places in the tenderloin district (renamed Pioneer Square) that are conducting gambling.

Following is a list of the gambling houses visited with the number of "tables" or "games" operated. Tables or games apparently refer to poker tables.

Standard Club -- 14 games
Located in the Standard Building on S Washington Street at the SE corner of Occidental Avenue. The Standard was "one of the largest resorts on the coast [and] is patronized principally by laborers."

The Totem Club -- 10 games
The Totem Club (Argyle & Dormer, proprietors) was located next to The Totem Saloon (W. H. Carter & Co., proprietors) at 117 Occidental Avenue.

The White House Saloon -- 8 tables
White House Saloon (Mischke Bros., proprietors) was located at 608-610 2nd Avenue.

Union Club -- 8 games
Union Club (Thomas Urquhart, proprietor) was located at 111 2nd Avenue S.

Clancy Saloon -- a blackjack game
The game was in progress in the rear of the saloon. Clancy Saloon (Thomas Clancy, proprietor) was located in the Clancy Block at 200 2nd Avenue S.

Ben Pincus saloon -- a blackjack game
Saloon operated by Benjamin Pincus was located on Occidental Avenue near S Washington Street.

The Seattle Star, January 21, 1901, p. 1.

Click here to read the essay on